Zachary MacGuire (2013- )
Occupation: Prison Education Officer; School Teacher; Acting Principal
Zac was an old boyfriend of Natalie’s working at the prison where Casey was serving his periodic detention. Natalie asked him to keep an eye on Casey and he intervened in a confrontation between Casey and prison bully Courtney Freeman, encouraging Casey to hit him to gain the other prisoners’ respect. He then encouraged Casey to get some qualifications while in jail. Zac brought Casey home early when he was beaten up after Zac convinced him not to act as a drug courier for Courtney. Brax blamed Zac but Casey defended him, although he was thrown to learn Zac knew Natalie. Zac invited Natalie out for dinner when they went for a run together but Natalie wanted to take things slowly if they renewed their relationship. However, when Brax returned to town but didn’t come and see her, Natalie invited Zac round to her house and kissed him, which was witnessed by Brax.
When Casey began trying to protect Jamie Sharpe, who was in jail with him, he was beaten up but refused to tell Zac what was going on. Brax threatened Zac with retribution if anything happened to Casey. Casey wondered if Zac had only helped him to get close to Natalie and, fed up of being in the middle, asked Zac not to help him. However, Zac still broke up a fight between him and Courtney. Casey was then stabbed while defending Jamie and Brax blamed Zac. Zac sought to arrange a deal where Casey would be released and Jamie transferred in return for them giving evidence against Courtney. He told Casey that he had spent time in jail when he sold pot to fund his way through university. When it looked like Casey would have to go back to jail despite the statement, Zac pleaded his case to the authorities and secured his release but had to admit to knowing there were drugs in the prison and was dismissed.
Zac found Natalie upset after a disagreement with Brax but, on learning she had initiated the conversation, wondered about her priorities. Natalie told him she chose him and cut her ties with the Braxtons. He talked Heath into continuing counselling as part of his attempt to get access to Darcy and convinced Natalie to attend Heath and Bianca’s engagement party. He approached Gina, telling her he was a qualified teacher but had never worked in a school because of his criminal record. Gina granted him an interview and suggested he make a statement saying he regretted it but he replied that he didn’t since it made him the person he was. Gina managed to get Zac appointed but died not long after. When Bianca took over as principal, Zac immediately caused headaches by taking his class, who were distracted by Gina’s death, for a game of football on the beach without permission.
When Heath found out that Darcy had been taken interstate and he had no legal rights over her, Zac tried to convince him to channel his anger at the gym. Heath hit him instead but Zac managed to guide him over the best way to handle the situation. Having moved into Leah’s house, he and Natalie started looking for a new housemate but Zac turned Kyle down when he put himself forward. However, when Natalie told him she was fine sharing with a Braxton, Zac offered Kyle the room.
Zac began trying to set up a self-defence class which brought Sasha and Rosie into contact with Bella Lugarno, who had been raped by Alexander Mullens like Rosie had. Zac and Natalie cautioned them that even Bella making a statement wouldn’t be enough evidence for Mullens to be charged. Sasha told him that Rosie was being pestered by Lachlan Stone, a friend of Mullens Zac approached Lachlan when he saw him watching Rosie at a self-defence class and Lachlan insisted he was nothing like Mullens. Zac began to realise Lachlan knew what Mullens had done was wrong and he and Bianca arranged a mediation between Rosie, Sasha and Lachlan where Lachlan agreed to give evidence against Mullens, resulting in him being charged.
However, Natalie was upset that she hadn’t been alerted. When Rosie ran out of his class, Zac followed her and overheard Spencer realising she was pregnant. Natalie wanted to speak to Rosie even though she felt more comfortable with Zac and, after a dinner at Angelo’s descended into an exchange of insults, the pair ended up having an argument at work that resulted in Bianca telling them to respect each other’s positives and them beginning to sort out their differences. He deduced that Maddy’s vague request for counselling was an attempt to make Spencer feel sorry for her.
When student Holly Chapman began taking an interest in him, Natalie warned Zac not to underestimate her. Zac dismissed her attempts to flirt with him but failed to alert Bianca. When Holly handed in an essay where she declared her interest in Zac in explicit detail, Zac showed it to Bianca. He then found Holly upset after Bianca spoke to her but when he tried to comfort her she tried to kiss him, insisting she knew he felt the same as her. When he rejected her, Holly told Bianca that Zac had been flirting with her all year and tried to kiss her. Zac was suspended pending an enquiry and had a brick through his window when a paper printed Holly’s version of events. Bianca found him an alibi that cleared him and made a statement to the paper clearing his name. Zac returned the favour by helping Maddy with a protest that helped Bianca stay on as principal when the Department threatened to punish her for the statement.
He and Bianca convinced Jett to go back to John when he hid out at school angry about John injuring his back during a workout and he met Leah for the first time when she came home. When Brax was shot, Zac told Natalie he was all right with her visiting him. Natalie said she wouldn’t but when Kyle mentioned she’d been to the hospital and Natalie subsequently lied about it, Zac felt she had something to hide. When Leah objected to them arguing in the house, Zac told Natalie he was fed up of feeling like a consolation prize and decided to go and stay in the city for a while.
On his return, Zac made an attempt to rebuild his relationship with Natalie until he realised she still liked Brax. He told Leah he thought Natalie had always been looking for someone to fill the void left by her mother, and asked Indi why so many women liked Braxtons. Nevertheless, he helped Heath when Connie tried to blackmail him into giving up custody of Darcy. He got a friend in the police to track down Natalie’s mother, prompting her to leave town to make up with her.
Zac returned home to find Leah had let Holly into the house and ordered her out. The next morning, the police turned up with a search warrant and found drugs in the house. He realised Holly was responsible but couldn’t prove it. Holly offered to tell the truth if he spent the night with her but Zac turned her down, saying he’d rather go to jail, and told Bianca what was going on. He then found Holly walking back and forth along the edge of a cliff, asking why he didn’t want her. He made a surreptitious phone call to Bianca, allowing her to hear what was going on, and talked Holly back from the edge. She was taken away for psychiatric assessment and Bianca explained that Holly’s father had been abusing her but stopped when the matter was investigated: Holly felt rejected and latched onto Zac as the first person to show her attention. Zac was forced to admit he’d misjudged her.
When he learned Heath wasn’t accompanying Bianca to a principals’ dinner, he tried to talk him round, then went along himself as her date. Leah challenged his motives and he began to realise he had feelings for Bianca. He helped her out with her wedding preparations but made things awkward by asking her if she was marrying the right person. After giving it some thought, Bianca told him she wasn’t interested in more than friendship. He went along to her wedding for closure only to witness Bianca punching Heath for sleeping with another woman. He tried to smooth things over between the pair but instead nearly kissed Bianca and admitted to Leah that he still wanted her.
With Bianca and Heath married, Zac tried to move on and was soon given something else to worry about when he was visited by Hannah Wilson, whose sister Sarah had married his brother Ethan. She told him that Sarah had died and Ethan had taken their two children, Oscar and Evelyn, to a self-improvement group which she felt was dangerous. She explained the twins would have to go through an initiation ritual when they turned sixteen. Zac told Leah that Ethan was the one who had reported him for drug dealing and they’d barely spoken since. He went to visit Ethan and had dinner with him and his family; Ethan and Evelyn both insisted Hannah was wrong about the lodge but Zac sensed Oscar held a different view and surreptitiously gave him his phone number. He received a phone call from Oscar asking for help but was cut off. He went to the commune but Zac and Evelyn refused to let him see Oscar and he was intimidated into leaving by the other commune members. Ethan then took out a restraining order against him. When he mentioned the incident to Brax, Brax suggested they simply take the twins. He distracted Ethan while Brax, Heath and Kyle removed the pair from the lodge, scuffling with his brother to stop him intervening. Afterwards, he found himself holed up with the twins in a motel with no idea what to do next.
Hannah joined them and he managed to persuade Leah to take Oscar, who had been beaten for calling him, for medical treatment in secret. They hoped to keep the twins safe until they were old enough to choose where to live but Evelyn hit Zac over the head with a vase and ran away. She didn’t get far since Kyle found her and took her to the Braxtons’. Zac agreed to a deal Ricky arranged whereby the two of them would take Evelyn out of town until her birthday and she could decide where she wanted to live afterwards. He managed to shake Evelyn’s fantasy of Ethan by revealing it was him, and not Ethan, who had turned up with emergency supplies when she and Oscar were ill on their fifth birthday. He then received a call from Hannah tipping him off to the fact Murray was at the house. He rushed back there but it was Oscar who saw him off by threatening to report Murray for beating him. However, Evelyn was worried about Ethan and returned to the lodge.
Oscar began acting out in the aftermath and Zac had difficulty relating to him. He also lost his temper with Murray when he brought Evelyn to visit and baited Zac about neglecting his family. He and Hannah decided to get a place together and he was annoyed when Leah accused him of taking advantage of Hannah. He tried to integrate the Mangrove River students into the school but had Oscar complaining that he hated school, had to give Matt Page yard duty on the first day and found Bianca’s office vandalised. When he realised Oscar felt crowded, he moved out to a motel. However, when Evelyn and Spencer got into trouble trying to escape the lodge, Hannah grabbed Zac for help. He punched Murray to stop him taking the pair back to the lodge by force but failed to convince Ethan to come with them. On learning Murray had been forcing the teens to get married and Evelyn had recorded the ceremony, Zac convinced her to hand over the recording to the police, resulting in Murray and Ethan being arrested.
Ethan was soon released and turned up wanting Oscar and Evelyn back but Zac convinced him to give them some space. He kept an eye on the twins one night while Hannah was out with some work colleagues and nearly kissed her on her return. The next day, they concluded that since they were no longer living together something could happen between them, only for Oscar and Evelyn to turn up and announce they’d found somewhere for them all to live: the Walker farm. After looking it over, he and Hannah decided to bury their feelings and concentrate on turning it into a proper home for the twins. However, he let Evelyn go to a party without telling her and was jealous when she invited Nate round for dinner. He agreed to take Evelyn and Oscar to the music festival after they’d had another visit from Ethan but worried when they failed to turn up where they’d agreed to meet.
Zac and Casey went to the hospital where there had been an explosion, to find Ethan badly injured with Kyle’s phone and having made a cryptic remark about Evelyn and Oscar. Zac tried to question him about the trio but Ethan died without regaining consciousness. When they got a call on Ethan’s phone, Zac wanted to answer it but Casey convinced him to let them leave a voice message, from which they worked out the trio were being held in a shipping crate at the wharf. They headed down there with Tamara and Hannah and Zac managed to hear Kyle banging on one of the crates, allowing Casey to release them. After getting the twins home, Zac slept with Hannah. They broke the news of Ethan’s death to the twins but the pair reacted badly when they returned home to find Zac and Hannah kissing and Zac made things worse by trying to convince Oscar they had only kissed. They concluded a relationship between them was out of the question.
Zac tried to organise Ethan’s funeral but Oscar objected to not being included while Evelyn refused to talk to him. Oscar punched him when he stopped him fighting with Matt but Zac refused to retaliate. He and Hannah tracked the twins down to a party and convinced them they were serious about being a family, inviting them to take part in the funeral arrangements. Zac performed the eulogy at the funeral and talked about growing up with Ethan. When Hannah told him that Denny Miller, a young woman she’d seen at the funeral, was claiming to be Ethan’s daughter, Zac recalled that Ethan had a serious girlfriend when he was seventeen who suddenly moved away. After meeting Denny and discussing her mother, he found a photo of her as a baby in Ethan’s belongings and accepted her story, telling Oscar and Evelyn about her. He had to tell Denny that the twins weren’t interested in meeting her, until Oscar suddenly changed his mind.
Casey asked him for help in tracking down Brax and he managed to get the details of the prison he’d been transferred to via his contacts. He tried to comfort Denny when Evelyn accused her of lying about who she was, but accidentally upset her by suggesting she get a DNA test. He was upset when Denny wanted to leave town and convinced her to talk to Oscar; in the end, Evelyn convinced her to stay. Zac was annoyed when Oscar stole money from Hannah’s purse to help Denny stay in town but Hannah blamed him and walked out on a family dinner. He tried to suggest to Hannah that they spend time alone together again but she gave him the brush off. When he later tried to rekindle their relationship, she told him she didn’t have feelings for him anymore. He then saw her kissing Andy. He made a pass at her but accepted she wasn’t ready to be a family unit. However, he ended up losing his temper not only with Hannah but also with Evelyn and Oscar, complaining that they stopped them being a couple without knowing the pair were in earshot.
He got drunk with Bianca, who told him she and Heath were over, and slept with her. He refused to answer Evelyn’s questions about where he’d been and likewise failed to persuade Hannah to talk to him. He started drinking heavily, resulting in Tamara finding him passed out drunk on the beach. He noticed Josh copying out answers during a test and found that Evelyn had stolen them from his bag and distributed them to half the class. He gave everyone who had taken the answers a ten thousand word essay as punishment and everyone who had kept quiet two thousand words but Evelyn was openly scornful of his attempts to punish her or make things up with her.
Zac, who had been left as acting principal when Bianca took time off, contacted her in an attempt to simplify things but Heath intercepted the message and punched him in front of Evelyn, resulting in her finding out he’d slept with Bianca. Zac argued with her at school and she walked out, with Hannah refusing to let Zac take her back to school and threatening to keep him away from the twins. Zac got drunk in the school office and ranted at Bianca to do her job. He tried to joke with Oscar about the latter’s crush on Maddy but it backfired and resulted in Hannah having a go at him. After Brax made a few choice about him and Bianca at Angelo’s, he hit the bottle again. He threw it away after making up with Evelyn but when Bianca confronted him about his drinking he got wasted again. Evelyn and Oscar found him passed out in his car and, although Evelyn walked away from him, Oscar drove him home.
Zac woke up with no memory of how he got home and, when he learned Tamara had been run over on the road to the farm and found damaged to the car, thought he was responsible. He confessed to Hannah, who advised him to keep quiet, and when Senior Sergeant Emerson turned up looking to check his car, they found it gone. He was annoyed that Hannah had got Andy to repair the damage. When Tamara told him she remembered seeing his car driving off, he told Emerson he thought he did it. He ended up being shouted at by Nate after being charged but then Oscar told him that he was driving. Zac decided he should take the blame and told Oscar to stay quiet. He was ignored by the students at school and tried to resign but Bianca told him to take time off instead. His mood wasn’t helped when he returned home to find Hannah with Andy. When he learned Oscar had asked Sasha to write an article revealing the truth and given her a recording of him arguing with Evelyn as proof, he went to Sasha and asked her not to print it. He was furious when she did so anyway but accepted he wasn’t helping Oscar and took him to the station to make a statement.
He went looking for Oscar when he ran away from school suffering from panic attacks and awkwardly thanked Andy when he helped him out. He returned to work but had trouble handling being around Hannah and Andy. He considered moving out but decided they should act like they merely had a business relationship. He accompanied Oscar to court where he was given community service. When Oscar began having panic attacks, Zac realised he was lying when he claimed to be over them and took him out for a run. He spent an evening with Sophie doing marking together and refused to discuss it with Hannah. He was concerned when he saw Oscar having a panic attack at the gym and found a portrait in which Oscar drew himself as a monster. He let Nate talk to Oscar about going on medication, which Oscar agreed to. He stopped Hannah intruding on Nate and Sophie’s date and found himself confronted by an angry Maddy when she failed an exam and tried to blame him.
When Hannah announced she’d invited Andy over for dinner, Zac promptly announced that he and Oscar had arranged to go camping. Oscar went along with it but teased Zac for trying to avoid the pair, so Zac went back to the house for the night and coped with having to see Hannah and Andy in their underwear. However, he was annoyed when Andy undermined his advising Oscar to keep his head down at community service by telling him to stand up to people instead. Zac insisted on driving Oscar but this and his advice resulted in Oscar being bullied and punched in the face. After Andy taunted him about it and Oscar called him useless, Zac decided to move out. Evelyn tried to talk him out of it, thinking Andy would soon be gone. He booked a room in the Sands but Hannah asked him to stay, since Andy had been arrested on suspicion of drug dealing. However, when Hannah accused him of planting the drugs on Andy he moved out. When Heath came to the school to try and see Darcy while banned from seeing her, Zac and Leah stopped him but didn’t call the police; Oscar accused him of having something to hide from the police and he realised Hannah had got in his ear. Hannah eventually realised Andy was guilty but Zac collected his things anyway.
Zac ended up in the crossfire when Maddy and Evelyn argued in his class about Josh cheating on Maddy with Evelyn. Evelyn invited him to the house for a family dinner with her and Denny. He was delighted with one of Sasha’s poems and showed it to Sophie, who sent it to a college to be assessed. He also told Sophie about Leah’s troubles with Jamie Sharpe, unaware the two women were at odds. He and Leah then got drunk together. He tried to help Oscar when he found him skipping school to exercise. Sophie arranged for him and Leah to work together; he was amused to learn Sophie was trying to set them up but did ask for his room back at Leah’s. Sophie told him that the poem of Sasha’s that had impressed him was not written by her. When Sasha refused to explain where it came from, he told her he had to fail all her coursework. Matt revealed that he had written it and submitted it without Sasha’s knowledge, so Zac let Sasha submit more poems.
Hannah told him about Oscar’s over exercising and they realised he had lied about getting a lift back from community service. He and Leah searched for him together, although it was Andy that found him. At the market day to raise money for the school formal, Zac was asked by Matt to keep an eye on the kissing booth and found himself kissed by Leah, who had been set up by Matt. Afterwards, Leah admitted she had feelings for him but he told her he didn’t want to ruin their friendship. He offered to move out but she told him to stay. They chaperoned the school formal where he asked her to dance and left when she turned him down. With some encouragement from Hannah, he approached Leah in her office and kissed her. When Matt found out about their romance, Zac asked him to keep it quiet since VJ didn’t know. When he instead showed it to several students, including VJ, Zac and Leah were both angry.
Zac watched on as VJ got into a feud with bully Tyson Lee. He took Tyson to hospital when he claimed VJ had assaulted him but when Nate told him he thought Tyson was faking his injuries Zac exposed him to Sophie and got him suspended. VJ then went missing and turned out to have been kidnapped by Tyson and tied up in the bush. Zac supported Leah and Denny until VJ, Brax and Nate were found safe. He took VJ to a movie night at the surf club where VJ opened up to him about his guilt over the incident. He and Alf arranged to take VJ, Spencer and Matt away, where he found out VJ had a tattoo. He kept it from Leah as per VJ’s wishes but was blasted by her, and talked Matt out of breaking up with Sasha. He tried to stay out of VJ’s life but Leah had to ask him for help when VJ wanted to drop out of school and he suggested VJ go to TAFE instead. VJ then acted up in his class and Matt suggested VJ felt he’d lost Zac as a friend. Zac took VJ to the gym and told him he could talk to him in confidence but Leah had the final say.
Oscar went to him for advice when he learned he might be the father of Maddy’s baby and he accompanied him to the hospital when Maddy had an ultrasound which showed she wasn’t pregnant. He was invited round by Marilyn to discuss the comments he had left on Jett’s end of term report and the fact they were less critical than VJ’s; Zac explained that VJ needed reassurance while Jett needed to be challenged. He tried to get Nate to alert the authorities when he received a sinister message from Sophie. When most of Summer Bay went to the city to support Phoebe at her music launch, Zac was left at home with VJ.
When the bus carrying the group crashed, Zac and VJ discovered Leah was unaccounted for; when she was found, she had a bleed on her brain. Leah was left in a coma and Zac was faced with looking after VJ indefinitely. He had trouble acting as an authority figure and took VJ to the city when Leah was transferred there. Shortly after they returned, they learned an attempt to take Leah off the ventilator had failed and she wasn’t expected to come round. He was offered the job of acting principal. Evelyn told him that Hannah was in a wheelchair after the accident and he began to be frustrated by his workload, losing his temper with Irene when her constant offers of help left him feeling she thought he couldn’t cope. He gave Matt indefinite detentions when he caught him fighting with Spencer but ended up talking with him about his worries over Sasha going to uni. He went to see Hannah and convinced her to start using the wheelchair, but missed dinner with VJ in the process.
He counselled Oscar over his relationship with Maddy, then learned VJ had run off to Leah’s hospital in the city and agreed to let Irene get him. She returned alone, saying VJ had decided to stay with Stella, so Zac went to join him and eventually brought him back. Roo spoke to him about the possibility of Maddy going back to Year 12 and he agreed. When Jett and VJ got into an argument, Zac and John arranged them boxing lessons. He agreed to Spencer and Evelyn’s proposal for the colour run. He refused to let Jett and VJ have a real boxing bout and agreed with John’s suggestion to put them through a gruelling training regime to put them off. However, after a few days they showed no sign of flagging and confronted them about the deception. Zac and John agreed they could have a bout but Irene blasted Zac, saying Leah would never agree, and he rescinded the offer. When VJ got angry and punched Matt, Zac felt he had no option but to suspend him.
When VJ returned, he suggested he move to the city to live with his grandmother and Zac agreed after a talk with Alf, but then Leah came round. Although pleased, Zac felt guilty about giving up on her. He got into an argument with Matt when he got drunk the day Leah arrived home and used his contacts to get Ash into jail to see Gunno. He led the students in an Anzac Day trip to the war memorial in Canberra. On realising Leah was stressed, he arranged a picnic lunch for them in the front room, where they told each other they loved them for the first time. When Leah overheard VJ telling him he was glad he’d stuck around, she questioned Zac, who initially dodged the issue but eventually admitted the truth. She accused him of abandoning her and told him to move out but VJ stopped him. Leah abruptly changed her mind the next day and apologised. She told him she was having an MRI and turned out to have an aneurysm. Zac tried to convince her to have surgery but she insisted he and everyone else needed to respect her decision not to.
He was uncertain about her decision to return to work and during an argument she announced she wouldn’t, then turned up anyway the next day, having apparently forgotten the argument. When he learned Leah had shouted at Matt and Maddy at school, he realised he couldn’t allow her to go on working. When Leah refused to admit she had a problem, Zac fired her, at which point Leah went missing in the bush. Zac helped find her and she agreed to surgery but told Zac she was making him next of kin and he was to turn off her life support if she was brain dead. He agreed on condition she explain the situation to VJ beforehand. It looked like he might have to make the choice when she ended up on life support after surgery but she soon recovered.
Zac planned to propose and asked Nate and Kat to let them have the house to themselves, before getting permission from VJ. However, Chris convinced him to propose to her on the beach in front of the entire town, only for her to turn him down. He stayed to watch VJ’s race in the surf carnival, after which VJ dragged him home where Leah, having changed her mind, was waiting to propose herself; he readily accepted. After an engagement party, he found a new teacher at school was his high school girlfriend Charlotte King. He had her over to lunch but failed to pick up on anything between her and Matt. He let Evelyn stay after a falling out with Hannah but rejected Leah’s suggestion of her and Oscar moving in full time, feeling they didn’t have the room. He attended Jett’s farewell.
Zac and Oscar attempted to mediate between Evelyn and Hannah, but when the discussion broke down into Evelyn making snide remarks and Hannah admitting she regretted giving up her life for them sometimes, Zac decided the twins should live with him and Leah after all. However, a few days later, Zac came home to find the house on fire and rushed inside to help Matt and Oscar, rescuing them with help from Billie. The house was gutted so the family relocated to the caravan park house. They then learned the insurance had lapsed while Leah was in a coma. Zac applied for a loan behind Leah’s back and claimed he’d inherited $50,000 from a godfather. However, he was passed over for the principal’s job and Leah was made redundant. He found he had to pay a $20,000 cancellation fee and borrowed the money from Charlotte, telling Leah there had been a mistake. At a fundraising banquet organised by their friends, Charlotte’s son Hunter appeared and announced Zac was his father. Zac confronted Charlotte, who told him that by the time she found out she was pregnant he was with Natalie, and soon after she learned he was in jail and her father refused to let her contact him. Zac went for a walk with Hunter to try to get to know him. He was frustrated by Leah’s distrust of him but Matt pointed out the situation was hard on her; he asked her to make an effort with Hunter.
He helped Charlotte and Hunter move into the flat above the Diner but lost track of time and missed VJ’s basketball trial. He took both VJ and Hunter to basketball practise but Hunter ended up injuring VJ. Leah insisted Hunter was causing them problems but Hunter denied it and Zac was bewildered when Leah wanted a DNA test. He spent a night on the couch but managed to get Hunter over for a meal to get to know the family. However, he and Charlotte were hauled over the coals by Greg and sent home when VJ and Hunter got into a fight at school, and Leah told him she was scared of Hunter and wanted him kept away from the house. He spent the day with Hunter and stayed longer with him when he apparently got a cramp; Leah realised he had been faking it but Zac refused to listen. He spent the day fishing with Charlotte and Hunter on what would have been Charlotte’s father’s birthday, leaving Leah feeling he was building a family without her and leading to her returning his ring. They reunited when VJ forced them to admit they still had feelings for each other but when he tried to organise a surprise picnic he found Leah had arranged to work at the Diner. Leah told him the relationship couldn’t be fixed and he moved out.
Charlotte found that he had spent a night at the school and invited him to stay with her and Hunter. When Leah found out, she stormed round to have a go at him. However, he was shocked when Charlotte tried to kiss him. He promptly moved out and returned to the school. When Matt convinced Ed Sheeran, who both Leah and Zac were fans of, to put on a concert at the surf club, Leah kissed Zac and they reunited. Zac was then given a glimpse of Hunter’s dark side when blew his top at Zac for choosing someone like Leah over them. He arranged to spend time with Hunter in between taking VJ to basketball training and having dinner with Leah, but when the basketball overran he cancelled with Hunter who stormed round the house to yell abuse at him and Leah. Hunter later returned and apologised, shortly after Zac had said goodbye to Denny, who was going travelling.
When he learned Evelyn had a new boyfriend, Tank, he suggested having him over for dinner. After learning from Oscar that they had had unprotected sex and from Tank’s father Greg, the new principal, that Tank kept girls away from their families, Zac and Leah tried to ban Evelyn from seeing him. After Tank and his friends trashed Maddy’s birthday party, Zac tried to warn Tank off and also asked Greg to talk to him, before grounding Evelyn. He thought things were sorted but then Evie ran away, although she soon returned. He helped track down Tank after he had orchestrated a bomb scare at the school so Evelyn would meet with him and asked Charlotte to stay in town when Hunter announced they were thinking of moving. When he learned Charlotte had been having an affair with Matt, he reported her to Greg, resulting in her being fired, and allowed Hunter to stay with his family in one of the caravans.
When Charlotte was banned from teaching, she asked Zac to help her with an appeal. When he refused, she threatened to tell Leah about the loan so he told her himself. Leah asked him to have “the talk” with VJ when he seemed to be getting close to Olivia. VJ and Hunter tipped him off to the fact Olivia was self-harming and he told Irene. He suggested to Leah that they reorganise the wedding, which they had postponed after the fire. When Evelyn had a bad time at the school formal, Zac cheered her up with a dance at home. He then had to deal with the news that Denny had been killed. He and Leah considered postponing the wedding but Evelyn talked them out of it. He chose Hunter as ring bearer, with Oscar and Matt as groomsmen. Charlotte interrupted their vows to launch a rant at everyone present and Zac saw her arguing with Hunter afterwards, but the ceremony was completed. However, Kat turned up at the reception to reveal Charlotte had killed Denny. Zac went out in a foul mood, then came back saying they didn’t have to worry about Charlotte.
The next day, the news broke that Charlotte had been killed. Zac was taken in for questioning but hid the fact that he had seen Hunter and Charlotte arguing just beforehand, and also stopped Hunter from revealing it when he was questioned. He attended Charlotte’s funeral to support Hunter, then learned Hunter had burned their house down when he confessed during Billie’s trial. He accompanied Hunter when he was questioned and charged, but went along with Leah and VJ’s insistence that he move out and stay with Irene, admitting to Leah he was no longer convinced that Hunter wasn’t Charlote’s killer. He supported Evelyn during her breast cancer scare. When he got upset at VJ and Hunter fighting, he admitted to Leah that he had forgiven Hunter. Leah invited Hunter out for a pizza and to move back in. However, Zac was promptly taken in for questioning over Charlotte’s murder, after CCTV footage was found of him following her. He told first Morag, who had been hired as his lawyer, and then the police that he had confronted Charlotte but left her alone and unharmed. Despite finding no physical evidence, Dylan charged him. He was then denied bail and remanded in custody. Leah visited him before his transfer and admitted she had had doubts about him but now believed he was innocent.
Although he and Leah parted on good terms, Zac refused to let anyone visit him. He was released when Morag found evidence he was at the caravan park but was withdrawn, barely responding to Leah and snapping at VJ and Hunter, as well as concealing a wound from his family. VJ managed to get him out of the house to help set up for a breast cancer fundraiser in Hannah’s honour, but when VJ playfully wrestled with him it exposed the fact that he was in pain. He showed his wound to Leah and told her he had had a fall in jail before they had reunion sex. He continued to be moody, snapping at Hunter after he had let Lindsay steal Alf’s ute, and eventually admitted the full story to Leah: He had found out that the prisoners were planning a riot and, knowing some of the guards from his time in the prison service and worrying they would get hurt, had alerted them. As a result, he was attacked and stabbed but someone saved him. He spoke to Greg about going back to work but was interrupted when they needed to help Hunter, who had suffered a tension pneumothorax as a result of the ute incident. Nate directed Zac over the phone to release the trapped air with a knife but although he managed it, he suffered flashbacks to prison and vomited when he and Greg were alone. Greg refused to let him return to school, especially after he grabbed Leah by the throat when she woke him from a nightmare.
Greg questioned him about the fact he had been in jail with Tank and learned that it was Tank who saved him and that he was now being targeted by the people who had attacked Zac, asking Zac to help him get parole. When he heard Tank had been beaten up, Zac agreed and told Leah. He went to see Tank in prison, but before they could talk Tank was stabbed by his tormentor, Michael Tait. Zac accompanied him to hospital and agreed to speak at his parole hearing. Evelyn was furious and said she’d never forgive him but later changed her mind. Zac was hit with the double blow that Hunter had got Olivia pregnant and that Josh and Evelyn had got engaged, before having to head off trouble when the paroled Tank accidentally turned up at the engagement party, talking Leah out of informing the police. He was best man at Nate and Ricky’s wedding.
During the hospital fundraiser at the caravan park, he and Leah had just gone back to the house when the event was rocked by an explosion. He rushed to help out only to discover that Oscar was dead, with Hannah dying soon after. He gave a eulogy at their joint funeral but was angry when he discovered Tank had admitted to causing the explosion and went to confront him at the hospital, having to be restrained by Leah, Greg and Kat. He and Leah talked Josh and Evelyn out of rushing into getting married after the funeral, then he found out that Andy was the real culprit for the explosion but Leah talked him out of going after him. He assured Roo he didn’t blame her when it was found that she hadn’t done the proper safety checks.
He advised VJ when he found out Billie was pregnant but talked Leah out of letting Billie move in. He received the news that Andy had confessed to killing Charlotte and tried to keep Hunter calm, then supported him when he stabbed Andy, convincing him to co-operate with the police. Having been made acting principal again on Greg’s departure, he then turned his attention to VJ, trying to get him to focus on his school work, and was annoyed when VJ instead asked for extra shifts, sending Billie home because he wanted VJ to concentrate on an essay and asking Billie to give him some space. He was relieved when Hunter escaped with community service for the fire and stabbing, but at the first session they both clashed with his supervisor, Danika Kulevski, when she refused to let them take Jordan Walsh to hospital after he fainted from mild dehydration. He worried when Hunter didn’t react to the news Josh was responsible for Charlotte’s death and tried to talk to him, also trying to talk to VJ when he failed his essay. He tried to help Leah talk VJ into returning home when he moved out and argued with Hunter about his skipping classes, then turned up at a party VJ had accidentally thrown at the farmhouse to find Hunter fighting with Jordan. He took the opportunity to bring both VJ and Hunter home.
He arranged for Evelyn to do teaching practise at Summer Bay High but was oblivious to Leah’s attempts to seduce him during a charity sleepover at the school. When he finally worked it out, he suggested champagne in bed. However, he was soon distracted dealing with Evelyn self-destructing. He applied for the principal’s job and was surprised when he got it despite giving a bad interview. He told Leah he couldn’t join her and the rest of the family on a trip Duncan was organising because he needed to start work straight away, but in fact he didn’t start for three weeks. He initially claimed he still had to work before admitting he didn’t want to take time off so soon. The plane then crashed and Zac had to stop VJ from going searching for Leah and Billie on his own. When they were found, he apologised to Leah for not going with her.
When Hunter’s exam results were altered on the school computer, Zac had to investigate the possibility that he was responsible, despite Hunter insisting Tabitha Ford had framed him. He told Hunter he would have to repeat the exam if no new information showed up and was relieved when Olivia came up with evidence of Tabitha’s guilt. As he increasingly concentrated on work, he and Leah felt that they were in a rut. Since they had lived together most of the time they’d known each other, he decided to move out to the motel for a while to try and get some excitement back into the marriage. They met for a romantic dinner at Salt, where they pretended to meet for the first time. Discussing their lives reminded Zac he had once wanted to be a novelist.
Zac came to Olivia’s defence when Tabitha used a fake Twitter profile to make her look bad, letting the other students know that she’d been set up. He and Leah felt awkward after a romantic dinner, not sure if they were allowed to sleep together. Even having sex didn’t dispense the awkwardness so VJ and Billie arranged for a romantic dinner and a talking stick during which they both admitted they wanted Zac to move back in. He then had to deal with a small fire at the school and initially suspected Tabitha until Matt revealed Ellie was responsible. He worried about Hunter’s plans to take a gap year, feeling he was rushing into it. Irene convinced him to ask Hunter to check Olivia was as keen on the gap year as him. Zac offered to help Hunter study but when he wasn’t free immediately Hunter stormed off. When he found out Hunter had planned to buy a stolen exam paper, he had to launch an investigation, prompting Leah to blame him for not being there for him enough.
He claimed he was going to Yabbie Creek to do something for Leah, then when she quizzed him about it he told her it was a surprise. He then missed Billie’s homecoming when she was discharged from hospital after being run over and gave several different explanations for it before meeting Samantha Webster at Salt but telling Leah he was meeting a teacher. He then went to see Sam in her motel room. He ran into Ash at the motel and explained the situation to him then joined Leah, Hunter and Olivia for a pre-exam lunch but left early to meet Sam. He then had to fail Hunter when he turned up late for an exam after oversleeping. He and Leah went for dinner with John and Marilyn, where he was left with awkward questions on learning Marilyn had seen him with Sam. He eventually admitted he was writing a novel and Sam was his editor. However, his attempt to introduce Leah to Sam caused tension when Leah learned Zac had told her details of their history. Zac decided to stop meeting with Sam because of Leah’s discomfort but she told him to carry on. However, on a later meeting Sam tried to kiss him, and when he went back she disrobed in front of him. He turned her down but kept it from Leah. When she rejected his book, he felt she was doing it to get back at him, but quickly realised the publishers really weren’t interested and even Leah wasn’t impressed when she read it, although she did encourage him to go back to it one day.
He refused to call the police when a fire was started outside Hunter’s caravan; John did instead but Hunter was soon cleared. He acted as chauffeur at VJ and Billie’s aborted wedding and went away with VJ and Leah for a while afterwards. He looked into Josh’s situation for Evelyn when he was arrested and refused to see her, only to have to tell her that he had a new girlfriend. He told Hunter he needed to let Olivia move on after Hunter got upset at seeing her on a date with Mason and booked an anniversary meal at Salt only for Leah to stay on in the city. Instead, he ended up having a drink with Bianca, who tried to kiss him. When Leah returned full of apologies, Zac was initially short with her, and although they made up he kept the fact he’d spent time with Bianca from her, even though Heath knew. Bianca approached him about getting a job at the school and he hired her as maternity cover. He also acted as Evelyn’s confidante when she worried about losing Matt and advised Hunter to get back with Olivia if he wanted to.